For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, as it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.” Clearly no one who relies on the law is justified before God, because “the righteous will live by faith.” The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, it says, “The person who does these things will live by them.”
Thank you very much, but I really don’t need any help looking foolish. I mastered the skill of looking foolish long ago and continue to refine it with each and every opportunity.
Just the other day, I put knee pads on and was down on the floor building something for Mary Ann. Without any help from anyone, I managed to fall off my knees and onto the floor. Let me repeat - I fell off my knees. The fall wasn't far, but I did fall off my knees and landed on the floor.
No one ran up and pushed me over. The dog didn’t leap up and knock me down. There was no sudden gust of wind. There wasn’t even an earthquake. All it took was me, and I fell off my knees and onto my butt. Clever huh.
People always, always, always do things that they think will benefit them. Even when they do something unspeakable to themselves, they ultimately think they’re doing something that will help them. To offset the pain in their life. Or put themselves out of their misery.
As Paul describes these people, they decided to move from God’s free forgiveness and grace and put themselves under a whole lot of rules and regulations. They thought it was a good idea. After all, everything in life takes work, so why not working to be loved by God. But, when they decided to give obeying laws a try, they really didn’t help themselves. Just the opposite, they hurt themselves. Or to quote Paul, they put themselves under a curse. They moved away from God’s fully paid love and blessing and towards having to do it all themselves.
They had been in the land of God’s forgiveness and moved into a country where the only thing they could do was to break God’s laws. That’s what you do to yourself when you decide to try and make God love you for what you do.
You take God down from being a loving heavenly Father and make him into a boss. You only stay employed if you do what the boss says. There is no unconditional acceptance or love. Only deadlines, task lists. Do this by this date or there will consequences.
Bosses are never satisfied. You might have worked hard to achieve some big project. You might even have received an “atta-boy” in the form of an email, or even a debit card for Starbucks. But then you move onto the next project, the next thing to do, and you start all over again.
I’ll tell you another thing that bosses do, they change their minds. Do it this way. But then a little bit later you’re told to do it that way. Do this first. No, put that aside and move this up to the top of the list.
When you’re under laws, you never get ahead. You never build up any “credit” for all the obedience you do. You only treat water. You never get ahead.
When you’re trying to obey laws, there’s only cold rules. There’s no love. No forgiveness. No beauty. No kindness. No friendship. No compassion. It’s obey: yes or no. That’s it. No compassion, only regulation.
This is where Jesus has it all over everyone else. In every other religion, you have to earn it. You work for it. You break a law and bam, you get punished. You might offer a sacrifice, but that only brings you back to zero. You never get ahead of the game. You’re always running in place but not getting anywhere.
But not with Jesus. He came to give life, not laws. He came to bring you back to God at the cost of himself. He came to once-and-for-all pay off the terrible debt that we’d dug ourselves into, and there was no way out.
This is the God of history. He’s using everyone and everything to show all of us how totally hopeless we are. We’re so far in debt and there’s no set of rules that can get us out. Only Jesus himself and his death on the cross can break the chains of guilt and shame we’ve put on ourselves.
Yes, he’s the God of history. But is he the God of your history? Your past? Your present? Your future? He doesn’t want just a piece of you. No, he wants all of you. He wants to save and heal every single part of your life. He wants to remake and refill all those secret places that no one knows about.
God wants to do what you can’t do for yourself. You know that somethings desperately wrong. You can sense it deep down inside. But there’s no fixing it ourselves. There’s no DIY video on how to mend a broken heart. But there is Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. Did you catch that? He’s the “finisher” of our faith. That means he’s the one who does it all. He’s the one that pays for it all. He’s the one that completes it all. And he did that for you and me.
Does God seem more like a father or a boss to you? Why?
How can we transition to more of a fatherly relationship with God?
What’s stopping you from moving to a fatherly relationship with God?
 Hebrews 12:2 NKJV